A smaller-than-usual crowd celebrated Christmas Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Friday morning, with social distancing measures in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Parishioners wore face coverings and stayed at least six feet apart from others, including when taking communion.
Many churchgoers who traditionally attend Christmas services were able to watch Masses live from the downtown cathedral on television, or stream the services on their digital devices.
The Archdiocese previously announced updated guidelines for its indoor religious services according to protocols issued by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health.
Parishes in Los Angeles County may resume indoor religious services, provided there is space for social distancing of at least six feet between family units, all in attendance wear face coverings, and measures for cleaning and sanitization are followed. In a letter to priests and pastors in the Archdiocese, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez noted it will be safer to continue celebrating outdoor Masses.
Likewise, the public health department strongly recommends that places of worship continue to hold services outdoors. However, if a pastor believes it is better to offer livestreamed Masses only or to celebrate indoors -- if permitted by his county and in keeping with their protocols -- he may proceed accordingly, according to the Archdiocese.
Parishes that can and choose to return to indoor in-person worship must observe all protocols issued by their respective county. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, while acknowledging the debate over indoor worship services and its own revised guidelines permitting them with safety protocols, issued a statement urging churchgoers to avoid services held indoors.
“No matter what a Superior Court judge says and given what's happening now, it is simply too risky to gather indoors with other people who do not live with you,” according to the department. “Public Health urges you to continue to more safely worship as you have during the pandemic by attending remotely via streaming service or at outdoor services only.”
Univision Los Angeles broadcast Christmas morning Masses in Spanish at 7 a.m. on UniMas KFTR-TV, Channel 46. ABC7 Los Angeles broadcast the services in English at 9 a.m. on the Localish Network, over the air on digital channel 7.2 and via cable on Spectrum 1246 or 703, Frontier 467, Cox Cable 1133 and Mediacom 520.
For the full schedule of Christmas Masses at the cathedral, visit www.olacathedral.org/downloads/2020_ChristmasSchedule_1222.pdf.
Catholics can find a listing of available livestreams and broadcasts of services in the Archdiocese at lacatholics.org/mass-for-the-homebound so that they may continue to pray at home with their families.